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Introduction

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

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Summary

Applying Ethics

Morality, our sense of the morally right or wrong act, finds expression in individual claims of what is of moral value, for example, honesty, loyalty, fidelity, and what ought to be done or avoided in general and on particular occasions, e.g., always help others in need, never cause unnecessary harm to others, be fair in your dealings with others, etc. More often than not, one may not know why, what is morally right or wrong, is so, except for the very general reason that the morally right action is beneficial for all and the morally wrong act is not. A moral/ethical theory purports to answer the basic question – why are certain acts morally right and certain other acts morally wrong? Of course, one can make moral claims and more generally possess a morality without having a moral theory. Furthermore, the same moral claims may be compatible with different moral theories. Thus, one may hold that lying is wrong without having a systematic account of what makes it wrong and this moral claim may be justifiable by quite distinct moral theories such as those of Consequentialism, Deontology or Divine Law. The level at which moral claims and judgements are made is the level of substantive ethics, and the level at which theories are adduced to explain these claims is the level of normative ethics. There is a third level, that of meta-ethics, which constitutes a discerning enquiry into the fundamental logic of the language of morals.

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Applied Ethics and Human Rights
Conceptual Analysis and Contextual Applications
, pp. xiii - xlii
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2010

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  • Introduction
  • Edited by Shashi Motilal
  • Book: Applied Ethics and Human Rights
  • Online publication: 05 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.7135/UPO9781843313373.002
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  • Introduction
  • Edited by Shashi Motilal
  • Book: Applied Ethics and Human Rights
  • Online publication: 05 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.7135/UPO9781843313373.002
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Introduction
  • Edited by Shashi Motilal
  • Book: Applied Ethics and Human Rights
  • Online publication: 05 March 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.7135/UPO9781843313373.002
Available formats
×